Today’s bike ride took me on my usual route down the hill and to the right to the bike racks next to the ER at University of Maryland Medical Center. I’ve done this ride at least a hundred times, likely more, but today felt a little different. Yesterday I learned that another cyclist was hit and killed by another car. I saw the post on one of my bicycle groups on Facebook, and commented on the link right away. How tragic, I said, because it’s always tragic. I know what it feels like to get the news that a car has taken someone you love. I know that when someone dies, they are gone forever, and you are forever different. I know this, and I also know how resilient we are in the face of grief, as long as we let ourselves feel it all–or as much of it as we can bear–and as long as we stay open to it, and talk about it. I know that a year and a half after my dad was killed by a car, I am ok. I feel joy again, not as often or easily as before, but it’s already back. And it hasn’t even been two years yet. But I’m different now, and it isn’t a difference I’d wish for anyone. It hurts, badly. So when I saw the news, I knew another group of people would now have to tread this far too well trod road, and I hate that.
If you know me in real life and have known me for awhile, you know this about me: I have a tendency to get really into things for a really brief time, and then I move on. Some of you have been with me long enough to have seen the break baking phase, the cigar collecting, the online support group dedication (13,000 posts in 100 days of quitting smoking–I was 100% dedicated to quitting smoking), running, drumming, swimming, and the list goes on. Continue reading
Monday’s bike ride took me up to Locust Point, and oh, it was lovely after a morning reading for pleasure and doing some light grading. I followed the usual bikeway down the hill and up and around the harbor to Federal Hill and then down Fort Avenue. The ride back was just the same, and I spent some of each ride thinking about cars, as one must do, of course, when trying to share the road with them. There’s so much push back about bikes on the road–cyclists break the rules, they run stop signs and red lights, they refuse to use proper lighting at night to be seen, they ride too fast/too slow/too bicycle-speed to be on the road, they don’t wait their turn, etc. I get that. I see it, and it makes me unsafe too, especially when riders don’t heed my right of way as a fellow cyclist. Ok, true. Continue reading
Wednesday was another commute in a long week of commutes in crazy weather. I misread the reports and decked myself out for a monsoon, plastic pants and all. Yeah, I didn’t quite need those. The commute went off without incident, to and from, until I started up Charles from the station to home. Charles has been under construction for awhile now, inching closer and closer to North Avenue. This is a main drag of Baltimore’s White Stripe, and it was in terrible condition–time for a real fix, inconvenient and dusty as it might be. Continue reading
I took the bike out for a couple of rides today, first to Waverly to meet R. and O. for some scheming and then home again, a quick stop for lunch and a pep talk with N. I didn’t have plans to go out again, necessarily, but I wanted to do a little night riding to test out my brand new light-up reflective LED safety vest. I waited for the sun to go down–just a little after 5pm, a pox on you, wintertime!–and got myself all suited up for cold temps and strapped on the vest. And then I turned the lights on. I was all lit up like a Christmas tree, and I felt like the Safety Monitor as I pedaled west and north. Cars gave me a wide berth, dogwalkers looked on admiringly, and the folks waiting at the bus stops waved and clapped. Continue reading
Tuesday’s bike ride took me to Locust Point, but I took a different route than I usually do. Usually I take Guilford down and up to the Inner Harbor bike/ped path around and up through Federal Hill, but on Tuesday, the very last thing I wanted to do was dodge pedestrians. I took Maryland Avenue down instead, dodging the cars turning on Franklin/40 and merging into one lane on that steep hill at Saratoga. I love taking all the lanes in this part of just-west downtown because there aren’t quite so many cars and besides, it’s just the safest way to travel. Continue reading
I’ve been off the bike for quite a few days, spending them wandering around beautiful (and I do mean beautiful) Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with N., checking out museums and historic sites and restaurants and views–a lovely vacation. It isn’t a vacation without at least thinking about bicycles, so here’s my report: I want to ride my bike all over Pittsburgh and its many bike lanes, but I’ll need to be in my granny gear most of the time–that place is seriously hilly. Today, though, I was back on the bike in Baltimore, zipping down the hill and around the harbor and up the other side to meet A. for an early glass of wine before turning around and going back the other way to drop off the Surly for her end-of-summer check up. Continue reading
After a morning finishing one book, starting another, and sending some emails I should have sent months ago it was time to get back on the bike and pedal around in a surprisingly beautiful day. I headed down the hill to the Inner Harbor with an eye toward redeeming a coupon for a trip through the historic ships parked there. Well, that coupon expired in May, so I decided to just wander around to see what I could see. First stop: Harborplace. I’ve never been in there, because why, but today I decided to go check out the McCormick Spice store. Continue reading
E. is running the Brooklyn Half Marathon this weekend, which is pretty damn cool, so Brompty and I hopped on the train to NYC to cheer her on. I love that I can just pop the bike in the overhead bin and then unfold her on the other side and ride us all down to Brooklyn. Today’s ride through Manhattan was a quick reminder of the different attitude you need to ride here to avoid the pedestrians wandering into the street, the delivery trucks, cabs, and cop cars blocking the bike lane, and the other cyclists whoosing past; let’s just say I used my outside voice a lot. The left onto the Manhattan Bridge bike path was a relief, even though it was a bit tricky to avoid that one woman with all the groceries blocking my way. Oh, but the ride up the bridge! I love the slow pedal with the cars and subways, the city getting smaller and turning into water. I snapped this picture at the halfway point. I have seen this view from many vantage points in the last 20 years, but the view from the bike is the first one that’s felt like seeing all that much. I coasted down the other side and followed my directions to Red Hook for ridiculous tacos and grits and then followed Union Avenue through Park Slope and up Eastern Parkway to Crown Heights. I could ride in Brooklyn forever, but tomorrow it will be all Brooklyn Half Marathoning for me. E. can run it, but I’ll take my bike. Oh, such fun!
Thursday night’s ride was brief–down the hill, a lovely dinner with a new friend, and a slow walk up the hill, because sometimes I feel like walking, especially when my legs are feeling a little heavy and I’ve got some thinking to do. The night was cool, but that kind of cool that suggests tomorrow might be a little bit warm because spring is on the way. On the walk back I snapped this picture of an overturned mailbox with a safety cone on top it. What’s being kept safe is a bit unclear, but I’m safety girl, so I suppose I appreciate the warning. I saw this alert earlier in the day from my car window, and it reminded me of New Orleans and the way folks would alert their neighbors about potholes by putting a stool, halogen lamp, wicker chair, or some other tall household item in them. By NOLA standards this safety cone business is downright official.